The Golden State Warriors - Cleveland Cavaliers rivalry, probably the best in sports now, took an odd twist this week when video of Stephen Curry appearing to mock a LeBron James workout video surfaced.
Any awkwardness that video – shot without Curry’s knowledge at Harrison Barnes’ wedding reception – might have caused was only compounded by the presence of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers’ teammate Kyrie Irving, who’s made it known he’d like to land with another team.
The Curry video stirred the expected pots on social media and in the news media. When asked by reporters at a golf tournament, Curry denied that he was making fun of James.
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“It’s not something, if you look at it through the keyhole of just that 20 seconds, you don’t really understand what I’m doing,” Curry explained. “Ever since [James] posted that first video, I’ve loved it because he made a song that maybe a lot of people wouldn’t have know pretty popular just by doing that video. So he’s got me doing that dance.”
Comparing the two videos, it’s evident that Curry’s spent some time watching the original.
Here’s James’ original workout video featuring a Tee Grizzley tune from Instagram.
Now here’s Curry’s version at the wedding reception. He’s certainly got LeBron’s facial expressions and moves down.
Curry also told one reporter LeBron’s video is “my favorite in the whole world” and that whenever he hears the song, he wants to do that dance.
“... I’ve been doing that dance because of him, at my house, at dinner. When something good happens, I pull that out, because I like it and it makes me laugh and it makes me happy,” Curry said. “Not making fun of him.”
Irving’s presence was “just a casualty of the moment,” Curry added. “... neither one of us was trying to clown him.”
When something good happens, I pull that out, because I like it and it makes me laugh and it makes me happy.
Stephen Curry, on LeBron James’ workout video
Curry’s denial drew a mixed response from fans and media, and not everyone seemed to buy his explanation. But regardless of intent, trash talk, and trash tweeting, are a part of modern sports. James is going to be OK.
James himself took some shots at the Warriors a year ago when the Cavs roared back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to emerge as NBA champions.
Yahoo! Sports’ Ben Rohrbach dug up some old social media posts showing James wearing an “Ultimate Warrior” T-shirt upon returning to Cleveland after the finals and later serving cookies that mimic gravestones for Curry and teammate Klay Thompson at his 2016 Halloween party.
If James can poke fun at the Warriors and Curry, then one could only fault Curry so much for having a little fun at a friend’s wedding reception, no matter whether he was honoring his rival or not.
Finally, Irving, who played one season at Duke, was in the video because he was a wedding groomsman for Barnes, a former ACC Rookie of the Year at UNC. So, there’s an example of a friendship that overrides one of sports’ great rivalries. That’s a good omen for James and Curry.
Follow Mike Reader on Twitter.